Quality Magazine

PMA: Continued Business Deterioration Expected in Metalforming

November 25, 2008

CLEVELAND, OH, November 18-According to the November 2008 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect business conditions to continue to deteriorate during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 157 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

When asked what the trend in general economic activity will be during the next three months, metalformers anticipate worsening conditions. Seventy percent of participants reported that activity will decline-up from 67% in October-27% predict activity will remain unchanged, compared to 26% last month, and only 3% forecast an improvement in business conditions, down from 7% in October.

Metalforming companies also expect incoming orders to continue to drop over the next three months. Sixty-seven percent of companies anticipate a decrease in orders-up from 54% in October-24% expect no change-down from 34% the previous month-and only 9% forecast an increase in orders, compared to 12% in October.

Current average daily shipping levels dropped substantially in November. Fifty-nine percent of participants report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago-up drastically from 38% in October-31% report no change-down from 45% last month-and 10% report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago, down from 17% in October.

The number of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff spiked to 42% in November-up from 30% in October and at a substantially higher rate than November 2007, when only 13% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“The outlook for business conditions for the last two months of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 continues to deteriorate, as reported by PMA members in the November Business Conditions Survey,” says William E. Gaskin, president. “While there are a few pockets of strength, the general weakness of the manufacturing sector, led by severe cutbacks in domestic automotive production, is driving the negative outlook. Hopefully, efforts to stimulate the economy and address the underlying credit crisis causing consumers to restrain spending on big-ticket items will be successful during the months ahead.”